Today, nine students in grades 4 through 12 from schools nationwide have proven that it’s never too late to learn to read and thrive in school. From Providence, RI to Fresno, CA, these students, with the help of their passionate teachers, have overcome the myriad of obstacles that had prevented them from reading and achieving academic success.
Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced the winners of the fourth annual READ 180® All-Star Awards, created to honor adolescents nationwide who have learned to read despite formidable odds. As a result, these students are staying in school and turning their lives around, offering inspiration to their peers nationwide.
While the recipients of the awards range in age, location and background, they shared the common experience of all older struggling readers – low reading skills resulting in low self-esteem and low achievement levels. Some of the award winners faced additional hurdles: learning English as a second language, special education classification or physical and emotional challenges. Now, they have each accomplished something remarkable—raising their reading scores, feeling more confident in class, better attendance, testing out of special education classes, even winning a district-wide spelling bee—and they all have plans to attend college.
“These READ 180 All-Stars prove that it’s never too late for students to learn to read so that they can stay in school, graduate and contribute in the workplace and in the world. Their achievements are hard won and their success in school offers hope to millions of other struggling readers,” said Margery Mayer, President, Scholastic Education. “We salute all of the students nominated as READ 180 All-Stars because the true reward is already theirs – they have learned to read and opened up a world of possibilities for a bright future.”
The 2007 READ 180 All-Star Award winners are:
Age: 14 – Phoenix, AZ
As the oldest son in large family living in a Phoenix barrio, Jose feels a responsibility to look after his younger brothers and lead by example. But the frustration of living with poor reading skills was impeding his success when he entered school this year. “Now, Jose stands out amongst his peers because he has embraced his education with courage and willingness to accomplish his dreams,” writes his teacher, Mario Malaby.
After less than a year in the program, Jose’s reading scores are rising and he marks a transformation in not only his own life, but also in the lives of his younger brothers, who consider him a role model, “They can often be found spending much of their time reading, and they are embracing the life-changing concept that reading is essential and vital to success (essential and vital are words I recently learned!).”
Age: 15 – Kansas City, MO
Kevin’s poor reading skills resulted in ambivalence toward school. But the improvement he’s seen this year has put him on a path toward success, and changed his attitude at school. “Before, I was a horrible reader and, on top of that, I was a terror in the classroom. Now, I always want to show people that I am a great student and a better person, both in and out of the classroom,” he writes.
Kevin’s accelerating reading skills have helped his performance in all his classes. “From the low Fs he was earning in most of his classes, he has risen to mostly As and Bs,” writes his teacher, Kimberly Martin, “He now influences others to succeed and is a willing and important member of our class discussions.”
Age: 17 – Vancouver, WA
Before beginning his reading intervention program, Caleb was the kind of student who sat quietly in the back row and was easily overlooked. He lacked the confidence to read aloud in class, and had trouble relating to many of his classmates. But he has found a home in his class, is catching up with his peers academically, and making new friends while he’s at it…one of his best new friends is his teacher.
“Caleb really has done a ‘180’” writes his teacher, Bree Petty, “he is speaking aloud in groups, answering questions, becoming a group leader, and improving his reading and written language skills.” Caleb recognizes his own transition as well, “My reading and writing has improved and I might be able to go to college now and get a job helping kids that have trouble reading like I had trouble reading!”
Age: 12 – Austin, TX
When Giang moved to the U.S. from Vietnam a few years ago, she knew she had to learn English fast, but it was easier said than done. She learned to speak it quickly, but her reading skills lagged. “From the moment Giang entered the classroom, she had a desire to learn to read better. She is a very driven, hard-working student,” writes her teacher, Deborah Fullman, “She has a bright future ahead of her, and I am thankful to have been part of her journey.”
Giang’s hard work is paying off; her reading skills are rising and she’s recognizing the changes in herself, “I try my best to speak, read and write English well,’’ she says, “And I know that if I try my best, there’s nothing I can’t overcome.”
Age: 13 – Clearwater, FL
For Terryelle, the frustration of reading at a 3rd grade level when she entered the 6th grade led to behavior problems and a feeling that she would never succeed. She put it best herself: “I used to walk around with my head held low…Every time I got frustrated I would pout.” Today, Terryelle, who was tracked in special education, is reading at an amazing 10th grade level, gets excited about classes, leads several student groups, and is set to move into general education classes next year.
According to teacher Sara Carroll, Terryelle has a “newly adopted positive attitude toward herself and school, which is a direct result of her improved reading ability.” Terryelle is just happy to be reading and writing. “I’m proud to hold my head up high because I know that I can make something out of myself. My mom and family are really proud of me and I know I am going to succeed in life.”
Age: 12 – Phoenix, AZ
Florentina entered the 7th grade reading at a first grade level and struggling to overcome the language barrier. The result for her was frustration and low confidence, as she had trouble understanding assignments. She was placed in a READ 180 class at the beginning of the year, and her teachers began to see a change in her. “Florentina now comes to school smiling and willing to work—I can see such potential in her—she is becoming such a good leader,” writes her teacher Sandra Blair.
Now, Florentina reads on grade level and sees the impact of her increased reading scores in school and beyond. “Now I understand what I’m reading and succeed in reading,” she said, “and I’m making good choices in my life outside of school.”
Age 11 – Laughlin, NV
Symphany had been tracked into special education since the second grade as a result of poor reading skills. When she began READ 180 at the start of 4th grade, she was easily frustrated and impatient with school. In just a few months, Symphany and her teachers began to see improvements in her work. In just a year and a half, she moved from reading at a basic level to reading above grade level.
Symphany has tested out of special education and is now in general education classes and succeeding in school. “She has conquered every challenge thrown her way,” writes her teacher, Ira Perry. “Symphany’s success and determination carries over from reading into all areas.” Symphany, who loves reading now, says, “I miss my READ 180 class, but I’m glad I’m out!”
Age: 11 – Sanger, CA
At the beginning of the school year, Marie, a shy, quiet English Language Learner, had to struggle to understand English and achieve in school. She was performing at a low elementary school level, but today reads at a fifth grade level. Marie says, “At first, I didn’t like to go to school because I had to read a lot. Now, I love reading!”
“Marie has challenged herself to go beyond where she thought her limits were,” writes one of her teachers, Donna Pappas, “She has discovered new ways of connecting what she reads to her own experiences, and she doesn’t hesitate to share with others!” When asked about her future, Marie says, “I have a dream to go to college. I’m not sure what I want to study yet, but now I know I can succeed.”
Freddie Jordan, Jr.
Age: 12 – Providence, RI
The new kid in a new school, Freddie entered 5th Grade reading at a 3rd grade level. “Freddie began the year as a shy, quiet boy who struggled with reading and writing,” said his teacher, Judy Burns, “His confidence in his academics and his enthusiasm for all his classes has increased, and he is now excited to borrow books for reading at home!”
Now, Freddie is reading above grade level, is proud of the progress he has made in his reading, and recognizes that he is improving every day. “In the beginning of the year, I never liked to read and write, but now I made it to the District Spelling Bee and came in fifth place!”
The nine READ 180 All-Stars will each receive a $1,200 check from Scholastic to be used towards furthering their education, and the winning students’ nominating teachers will receive $1,000 worth of Scholastic READ 180 books and materials for their classrooms.
About Scholastic READ 180
Scholastic READ 180, a reading intervention program for older struggling readers, is based on scientifically proven principles, offering intensive intervention for students in grades 4 through 12 who are reading at least two years below proficient level. READ 180 offers intensive and individualized reading instruction for 90 minutes through data-driven technology, teacher-directed instruction in whole and small groups, and leveled reading materials that reflect students’ interests and age.
READ 180 is one of the most thoroughly researched and documented reading intervention programs available today. Currently in use in over 12,000 classrooms nationwide, READ 180 is the result of a collaborative effort between Vanderbilt University and the Orange County Public Schools in Florida. Response from numerous large-scale validation studies in Phoenix, AZ, Santa Rosa, FL, Los Angeles, CA, Des Moines, IA and elsewhere are unequivocal in their findings – implementation of READ 180 has resulted in solid gains in student reading scores.
More information is available at www.scholastic.com/read180
About Scholastic Education
Scholastic Education is a leader in the education marketplace, providing learning solutions for students through research-based technology products and multimedia supplemental instructional materials that support student achievement in grades pre-K through high school. Grounded in the most current scientific research, Scholastic Education develops technology products and services that include instruction, intervention, assessment, instruction, data management and professional development.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company's Internet site, www.scholastic.com